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Servicing the boat after-market

Boats are long-lived products well suited to after-market additions. An EU project helped small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) meet the demands of the sector by developing upgrade and maintenance services to be marketed internationally.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

The European boat sector faces competition from manufacturers abroad, and is responding by applying the intelligent product/service concept to boats for the first time. The concept refers to marketing opportunities present throughout the lifespan of a product, which for boats is generally lengthy. Facilitating such opportunities was the goal of the 'Boat management' (BOMA) project. The nine-member consortium ran for two years to November 2013. The group aimed to develop opportunities for European SMEs, by applying the intelligent product concept to leisure boats through existing technologies. The services developed address maintenance, sustainability, upgrades, safety and quality. BOMA aspired to a global market for its services, applied to opportunities arising from all phases of a boat's life. Work during the project's first nine months mainly included analysis of the as-is situation of business and processes, and of the requirement of each SME. The project developed a first version of business models and key performance indicators. Combining the SME requirements and business models yielded requirements for supporting the information technology infrastructure. BOMA defined pilot cases, identified tools and methods for implementing the infrastructure, and developed a first draft of the system architecture. It also realised and tested a software concept mock-up. The project's second period saw an updated business model, plus development of necessary algorithms. The team also refined the system architecture, comprising four components. Researchers developed, tested and implemented the Universal Marine Gateway for use both 'on boat' and in conjunction with a weather data interface. Various devices were connected to the BOMA architecture for testing. A decision support system was developed and integrated with the Lifecycle Management Severer. Complete system testing proceeded to the final beta test phase. Project partners created extensive training materials for the SMEs. Dissemination and exploitation activities included developing a comprehensive website, promotional materials, and various publications and events. The BOMA project yielded new services and technologies that European SMEs can apply to the boating after-market sector. Such opportunities lead to a competitive advantage for the European industry.


Boats, intelligent product, boat management, leisure, services, maintenance, sustainability, upgrades, safety, quality, Universal Marine Gateway

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